Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
He added: “The Council has achieved many notable successes in 2017. I want to thank Council staff for their hard work over the last 12 months. Our employees are among our greatest assets and they deserve praise for the commitment they show to working for the people of West Lancashire.
"A key aim in the Council plan is to be ambitious for the economy by retaining and growing jobs, and encouraging business and wealth.
"There are now more than 100 members of the Skelmersdale Ambassadors Network, who act as a powerful advocates to influence, attract investment and encourage business growth. At their last meeting members saw the launch of the new lets talk (external link). This will be key in driving Skelmersdale forward, as it will celebrate news from local businesses, give advice on available funding and support and provide information about the Ambassador network.
"Helping the local economy was a key aim behind the development of the Greenwood Business Centre at Gorsey Place, Skelmersdale. This helps meet demand for smaller factory units suitable for light industry, manufacturing and distribution and help create new jobs. This centre recently celebrated its first birthday and is completely full, with the businesses enjoying their new purpose-built working environment.
"Over the last 12 months the council and its partners on the Ormskirk Town Centre Management Group have been involved in important work to help ensure Ormskirk town centre has an even more vibrant future. This has included launching the new discover Ormskirk (external Link) to help local people and visitors find out more about Ormskirk and the surrounding West Lancashire area. This tackles a key challenge identified in the town centre strategy, which was the lack of a comprehensive website to promote Ormskirk.
"The Council provides high-quality services for local people and the authority's housing teams work hard for our tenants. Our Housing Annual Report shows some of their successes including investing millions into our properties for the benefit of tenants. More information can be found at Annual Report. Progress is also being made on the Beechtrees Revival Project, which will see 36 new homes built and have a big impact on the estate. Building work on the new homes is due to start next year.
"Our Street Scene Services continue to provide an excellent service, taking refuse and recyclable waste from 48,000 homes across the borough, and keeping our streets free of litter.
"The Council works hard with Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and other organisations in the West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership throughout the year to help keep crime low in West Lancashire. This was shown to great effect with the Bright Sparx Action Plan over the Halloween and Bonfire Night Period when the Fire and Rescue Service and the Police reported comparatively low call outs for this time of year, and there was excellent feedback from the community.
"Another fine example of the Council working well with partners is the Tawd Valley Park Project, where we have joined forces with Groundwork, the Environment Agency, the River Douglas Catchment Partnership, and West Lancs CVS on a major improvement scheme for the park. The Masterplan is currently out to consultation, so please give us your views, and more progress will be made on this exciting project in 2018.
“The Ormskirk MotorFest in August proved once again to be a huge success with over 30,000 people coming to enjoy this magnificent spectacle, making it one of the biggest free family events in the North West.
"As Christmas is almost upon us I would ask people in West Lancashire to remember that while this is a joyful time for many, we should all spare a thought for those who may need a helping hand over the festive period.
“In 2018 the Council will face financial challenges, like many other local authorities across the UK. The Council manages its budgets effectively to ensure the authority provides excellent value for money, and in previous years we have made savings while minimising any effects on services, but now these options are more difficult to find.
“However, the Council will continue to be ambitious for the borough, ambitious for its people, businesses and places and continue to strive towards achieving the goals in the Council Plan as it aims to make West Lancashire an even better place to live, work and do business."